Canisia Lubrin: That Instrument of Laughter


Nowadays I like to say cool
Cool cool thrashing my tongue like iguana
before even a li’l wind ruffle my branch.

Because that was the dark, that was the dark
between my lips, saying nothing beyond the resolute,
so I forlorn, cool?

Here is where the chronicle of a small life
turned upside down, toward a heavy murmur
lets me make the place of my birth a fiction,
Kanata when I really mean Roseau.

Or calm, when the heavy hand really rests
there, casting its figure into flesh and heart,

I learned to be like the mute. But how to unlearn
contentment with silence within or without
that sorrow, never the same as the night,
though together they share the same start.

Wherever you happen to be
remember how the moon tilts its forehead on the bay
to permit the sun, erasure.

Here is where to picture the years
of seven and eleven means unlearning the multiplication tables

that I could only use in a black suit.
ThThey were many. They were few.

So I traded my calculator for a pencil, cool?
Drew icing all over the sky
Filled black gutters on white sheets
with fathers like lime losing seed all over the yard. Cool.

There I wished for a rope to pull myself out of my spaces
between sentences. Nowadays I can never be cool,
glad to lie on my back and summon no rain.

Canisia Lubrin

from Voodo Hypothesis, Wolsak & Wynn 2017. Used with permission from the author.